Media Center

Sep 23

Metro Transit Workers Overwhelmingly Reject Council Offer and Authorize Strike

Minneapolis, MN – After two days of voting, Metro Transit workers represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005 overwhelmingly voted to reject the employer’s “final offer” and authorized union leadership to call a strike if necessary.

ATU Local 1005 represents more than 2,350 Metro Transit employees, including bus and rail operators, mechanics, cleaners, and clerks. The Local says that Metro Transit management has refused to hold meaningful talks with workers.

“All we are asking of Metro Transit is to show us the respect we’ve earned. That means sit down with us and negotiate a full contract,” said President/Business Agent Ryan Timlin. “Instead, they just slapped us in the face. They put a crappy offer on the table and walked away.”

Timlin says Met Council’s lack of respect for frontline workers is backfiring. 94% of voting members voted against the contract proposal and to authorize a strike.

“We put our lives and the lives of our families at risk every day to keep these buses and trains moving in the middle of a global pandemic,” Timlin continued. “Where is Wes? Where is the Met Council? They’re hiding out on Zoom, refusing to negotiate. They’ve left us no choice but to mobilize.”

Timlin says the Union doesn’t want to shut the system down and points to the sacrifices and infections borne by 1005 members throughout the pandemic as proof. “We’re not in a hurry to shut it down, but we are in a hurry to get the respect we’re owed. If Metro won’t meet, they give us no choice but to take action.”

ATU International President John Costa expressed strong support for the Local. “Our operators are the life-blood of Metro Transit. They are bravely reporting for work each day to keep the Twin Cities moving,” said Costa. “This vote sends a loud and clear message to Metro Transit. It’s time to come to the table and give our members the fair and just contract that they deserve.”

The Local also pointed out they played a key role in helping Metro Transit secure $214 million in emergency transit funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act allows Metro Transit to use the funding to pay workers and keep service running for frontline workers. In addition, they can purchase N-95 masks, gloves, other personal protective equipment (PPE) for transit workers, and additional cleaning and sanitizing supplies.